Thank god this show changed venues is all I've got to say. Originally scheduled to be held at the UIC Pavilion, the highly-anticipated Strokes/Kings Of Leon tour stop in Chicago was moved to the historic Aragon Ballroom just in the nick of time. You see, at the UIC Pavilion, they don't sell alcoholic beverages or allow smoking. Now, I don't know about you, but it seemed a tad strange that The Strokes, who have made a name for themselves as a hard-drinking, smoking, rock band, would play a show were those very things are off limits. People have been drinking and smoking at the Aragon for almost 80 years, so it was definitely a much better environment for perhaps the best rock tour of the fall.
The Kings Of Leon started things off with "Red Morning Light," and more people than I had expected were visibly excited and singing along. The band played a short, seven or eight-song, high energy set, very similar to the one they played at Chicago's Double Door a few weeks ago. "Spiral Staircase," "California Waiting," and "Molly's Chambers" (which is in rotation at Q101 and got the biggest crowd response) were all performed. KOL ended their set with "Trani." It seems that this song has become the signature closing tune for the guys. They rock jump, head bang, and dance their way through the track, seemingly having an internal competition over who rocks out the hardest. Jared (bass) won last night.
The Strokes had the Aragon crowd in hopeful anticipation for around a half hour before the house lights finally went back out and they took the stage. Julian, dressed in one of those gas station attendant shirts, thanked everyone for coming out, and the band quickly got down to business. Over the course of the hour-long set, the band intertwined old favorites like "The Modern Age," "Last Nite," "Soma," and the crowd-rousing "New York Cops" with tracks from their forthcoming album, Room On Fire. Those I recognized were "Reptillia," "I Can't Win," and of course, "12:51." Following the show, it was a mad dash to the EL station across the street, as 5,000 concertgoers tried to file through a single turnstile (the other was broken). That was fun. Fans of rock music are going to love this tour. Kings Of Leon are coming into their own as performers and The Strokes are, wellÖ The Strokes.